The West

Stimulus  lifts  confidence most business remains downbeat
Declines in retail weighed on business conditions.

Moves to stimulate the US and European economies helped lift Australian business confidence in September.

The National Australia Bank monthly business survey found confidence among businesses improved in September but remains downbeat.

The survey's business confidence index rose from minus three points to zero in the month.

At the same time, the business conditions index fell from zero to minus three points.

NAB said moves from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to stimulate their respective economies had helped lift confidence.

The Fed announced an unlimited program of bond-buying to push down long-term lending rates, while the ECB announced it was willing to buy the debt of its struggling member states in order to reduce their borrowing costs.

However, it said, confidence remained well below its long-term average, due to ongoing concerns about the value of the Australian dollar and falling commodity prices.

"Confidence is now six points below the long-run average and has been subdued relative to the average for more than a year," it said.

Meanwhile, it said, declines in wholesale, retail and transport, and utilities had weighed on business conditions in the month.

The West Australian

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